Facebook and Google are considered leaders in their respective software businesses due to their pioneering ideas and profitable business models but this week both giants surprised the market by launching hardware products. Market experts wonder if people would be interested in buying intrusive hardware gadgets from firms that till now offered all their services for free. The initial reaction of gadget geeks and Facebook users when the saw Facebook’s Portal Video Chat Screen with a camera that follows users across a room was “mild surprise”. It brought back memories of scary theories wherein social media businesses want to have a database of personal details of users.
Experts were debating the bad timing of Facebook’s product launch which is like a listening and viewing device that will record and keep users’ details, just after a massive data breach. But an executive from Facebook’s hardware division Andrew Bosworth allayed fears stating that the firm put privacy issues first when it created the product as it was meant for use within peoples’ homes. He focused on using the camera cover when just using the listening device and stated that all data on this device would be stored on the device itself and would not be sent to Facebook’s servers.
When asked if the firm would use this device for marketing he insisted that Facebook does not have any plans of adding advertisers to this device and is just concentrating on selling the devices without advertising. Google’s latest Pixel Smartphone and Home Hub combination also offers another screen but no camera and shows that it is trying to catch up with Amazon’s Echo Show and Spot devices. Market watchers in general are skeptical of the success of these devices as Sonos Chief Patrick Spence says, “people are getting screen fatigue after looking at their TVs or talking to each other via mobiles and tablets, so may not add another screen”.